Q+A with Small Business Owners Taking Part in the Scale DSM Program
This article includes an interview with Perlla Deluca of Southeast Constructors, Inc. and Nizigiyimana Danifodi of Danifodi Custom Suits, who answered questions about the Scale DSM Minority Business Accelerator.
Get to Know the Businesses
When Did You Begin Your Business? What Made You Interested in the Scale DSM Program?
Perlla Deluca: I began my business in 2000 and applied for the Scale DSM program to learn more about business growth.
Nizigiyimana Danifodi: Danifoldi began in 2018 as a business, but I have worked in custom clothing since 2014 for my friends and family. I was interested in Scale DSM because I wanted awareness and to learn about my clients in Des Moines and what other opportunities there are out there. I also wanted to learn from others who have been successful and thought that this would be a good opportunity to learn, expand and gain more knowledge about business.
Where were you in the process of building your business when you started the Scale DSM program?
PD: My business was established.
ND: I was scaling a bit, growing my clients. Since I started, I have been able to do so more efficiently and gain more knowledge to apply to my business. I am finding the right banks and learning more about the legality of owning a business and things that you don’t commonly learn when starting your business from practice.
What was one idea that you had about business ownership before the program that has been challenged?
PD: Adaptability is a lot of what we discussed. It wasn’t necessarily an idea that was challenged, just an idea that I was reminded of and needed.
ND: Funding – I thought that funding was tough, and it is, but I was able to learn more about the process of funding and break it down into more manageable pieces and into criteria that banks are looking for. Before, I thought that I had to just use my own money, work and work until I had enough, but the funding info that I gained gave me a new perspective and broke down barriers.
What was the most important advice you learned from the CEO mentoring groups provided through the program?
PD: We learned a lot from each other, but the most important portion was just the connection and being able to rely on each other as small business owners.
What was one of the most surprising things you've learned overall?
PD: Tax Depreciation.
ND: For my business, it’s that my clients never judged me. My clients supported me and put faith and trust in me besides not having a brick-and-mortar location or not being in a large business. That was the most surprising thing that I have learned since starting my business. I don’t need to rush things to impress my clients. They have faith in the process and trust in my work. For the program, it’s learning about networking and connections and resources in DSM.
What are some goals that you’ve created for yourself now that you’ve experienced Scale DSM?
PD: My goals are still the same, but Scale DSM helped me organize them.
ND: My goal is to expand and become the biggest custom suits maker in Des Moines. I want to grow here and then maybe franchise to Houston. Since the program, I have been able to learn more about franchising, including how much it costs and what it will take. It really helped me further define my goal and make it more of a reality for me.
Why do you think this programming with benefit other small business owners?
PD: You should always learn all aspects of your business to survive in business.
What do you love about the Greater Des Moines (DSM) Small Business Community?
PD: I love how close we are and how many resources are available here, including this program!
ND: I like that there are people that see others are working hard and the support is there. It’s not just focusing on small businesses and new businesses. It feels like you are a part of something and that someone cares about what I’m doing. The opportunity is there for you. It feels like home.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who wants to start their own business or is a business owner in DSM?
PD: Take advantage of all the resources in the region. We can all learn more every day and evolve. In order to scale, you need to be up to date with all of the tools available for small businesses.
ND: Look for the problem and bring the solution. And when you find that, it’s going to work. Bring a solid solution and it will work.
For more information, contact Juan Pablo Sanchez, Director of Inclusive Business Strategies at The Partnership.
Scale DSM is a minority business accelerator for diverse entrepreneurs in various industries, including food service, media and more. The Greater Des Moines Partnership program is sponsored by Wells Fargo and powered by Interise®.
Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need.
Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.